👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~18,913,000; deaths: ~711,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~4,868,000; deaths: ~160,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ Nearly 1.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week – the 20th consecutive week with more than 1 million new claims. The decline comes after the extra $600 a week in pandemic-related unemployment benefits ended for millions of unemployed Americans. More than 32.1 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits. (Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ The White House and Congress remain far apart on an agreement for a new coronavirus relief agreement, with “no top-line numbers that have been agreed to,” according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Trump again threatened to act on his own to provide relief, saying he expects to sign an executive order on Friday or Saturday to extend enhanced unemployment benefits and impose a payroll tax break. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, stood up before a room full of Senate Republicans and declared that he is not “owned by Nancy.” He added: “I can tell you those reports are false.” (CNBC / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg)
3/ Trump claimed – without evidence– that it was possible the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine before the Nov. 3 election, contradicting the timeline most health experts have called realistic. “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner,” Trump told Geraldo Rivera in an interview. When asked, “Sooner than November 3?” Trump replied, “I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time.” Trump also said “it wouldn’t hurt” his reelection prospects if a vaccine became available before Election Day, but insisted “I want it fast because I want to save lives.” Experts, however, have said that if the development, testing, and production of a vaccine is able to hit certain criteria, then the earliest a vaccine could arrive is the end of the year or the beginning of 2021. Public health officials also estimate that more than 100 million American essential workers should get vaccinated before the general public, yet only 10 million to 20 million doses are expected to be available at first. (Reuters / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
- The State Department lifted its “do not travel” advisory warning U.S. citizens against traveling abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although the guidance has been lifted, the European Union has blocked entry to U.S. tourists, and the UK requires travelers from the U.S. to quarantine for 14 days. (CNN)
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus shortly before he was supposed to meet Trump in Cleveland. (NBC News / CNN / Axios)
- Trump will sign an executive order requiring the federal government to buy “essential” drugs from U.S. companies. (CNBC)
4/ The New York prosecutors seeking Trump’s tax records have also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, his primary lender since the late 1990s, for financial records that he and his company provided to the bank. The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued the subpoena last year. In a court filing this week, Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested that it’s investigating Trump and his company for bank and insurance fraud, citing “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” and suggested that they were also investigating possible crimes involving bank and insurance fraud. (New York Times)
- The ACLU has filed nearly 400 lawsuits and other legal actions against the Trump administration since Trump’s election. (Associated Press)
- The New York attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging that a decades-long pattern of “fraud and abuse” had irreparably undermined its ability to operate as a nonprofit. The civil lawsuit, filed by Letitia James in state court, alleges that the NRA’s leadership engaged in self-dealing, and made false or misleading disclosures to the attorney general and the IRS. The lawsuit also accuses Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, of using “a secret ‘poison pill contract’” to guarantee himself lifetime income from the gun group. (Washignton Post / New York Times / NPR / Politico / ABC News / NBC News / NBC News)
5/ Facebook and Twitter both removed a Trump campaign post for spreading coronavirus misinformation. Twitter temporarily blocked the Trump campaign account from tweeting until it deleted a video of Trump claiming that children are “almost immune from this disease.” Facebook removed the same video, as well as hundreds of accounts from a foreign troll farm posing as African-Americans in support of Donald Trump and QAnon. (NPR / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News)
6/ Trump will reimpose 10% tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada, a little over a month after implementing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement designed to lower trade barriers in North America. (Politico / Wall Street Journal)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.